With University committees and boards currently seeking nominations in the termly elections process, Proochista Ariana, elected member of Council, member of Education Committee, Associate Professor of International Development and founding Director of the Masters in International Health and Tropical Medicine, talks about serving on University Council and her involvement in University governance.
What prompted you to stand for election to Council?
As a member of the University for twenty years in various roles, I have benefited from the governance mechanisms that ensure Oxford remains at the cutting edge of teaching and research. Given my role in teaching, predominantly on post graduate taught programmes, I wanted to lend my experience and contribute to the discussions informing the University’s strategies and subsequent policies.
How has your experience on Council translated to your other roles within the collegiate University?
Having just started my role on Council in October 2022, it is perhaps too soon to fully appreciate how this may translate to my other roles. What has already been helpful is having a better understanding of the substantive deliberations underpinning every decision.
What skills have you found most useful in serving on Council and on other University committees?
As a member of Council and the Education Committee, listening and engaging with diverse perspectives is the most useful skill. The collegiate structure of the University and representation on the University committees ensures a rich variety of opinions on every topic.
What have you found most rewarding about being involved in the University’s governance?
Being part of a community committing their time and lending their expertise to benefit and enhance the University experience for all its members – students, teachers, researchers and support staff alike.
What do you think people see as the main barriers preventing them from getting involved in University governance, and how would you encourage them to overcome these?
I understand that time constraints would be a barrier for many considering involvement in University governance. How to balance this with research and teaching priorities, as well as home-life commitments is indeed difficult. However, the rewards are well worth the time. And while more time is required early on as you familiarise yourself with all the relevant policies and documents and learn the culture of the committees, this then becomes easier.
Where can I find out more about the University’s governance?
Information is available on the University’s governance webpage.
Where can I find out what elected vacancies are currently available?
Current elections and eligibility requirements are published on the elections website.
What if I’m not eligible to stand for any of the current elected vacancies?
There are lots of other ways you can get involved in the University’s governance at a divisional and departmental level. Let your head of division or head of department know that you are interested in becoming a member of a committee, especially if you have an interest in the remit covered by a particular committee. Alternatively, look at the list of University committees and contact committee secretaries directly to ask about current and forthcoming opportunities.